Friday, March 5, 2010

Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (II)

The study looked at in the prior post about the effectiveness of casino self-exclusion involved asking self-excluders at a certain point in time about their gambling experiences. A later article by Ladouceur, Sylvain, and Gosselin (2007) follows self-excluders (or "disassociated" persons) over the course of two years. The initial contact took place at the time the gambler chose to self-exclude, followed by four follow-ups at six-month intervals. The self-exclusion order itself lasted either six months, one year, or two years, at the discretion of the gambler -- one year was the most popular exclusion period. As you would suspect, the disassociated people tended to have severe gambling problems, as well as a belief that they could not control their own wagering. One of the sad markers of pathological gamblers applied to this group, alas: more than one-third had thoughts of suicide, and 6.5% had attempted suicide, during the previous six months. Of the 161 disassociated people who started to take part in the study, only 53 participated in all four of the follow-up rounds of interviews.

Once again, the self-exclusion program appears to have been quite successful, given the extent of gambling pathology exhibited by most of the self-excluders. The urge to gamble fell markedly from the time of the initial exclusion order to the six-month follow-up, and remained at a significantly lower level two years after disassociating. Further, gambling problems likewise declined -- even though many of the disassociated returned to casino gambling. As Ladouceur, Sylvain, and Gosselin put it (p. 92), "major improvements were recorded on the urge to gamble, perceived control over gambling, and the intensity of of the negative consequences of gambling on daily activities, social life, work and mood." Further, these results were achieved in Quebec, where no penalties (beyond removal from the casino) would be imposed upon a disassociated person who was identified trying to enter a casino or after successfully sneaking in and engaging in gambling. In other locales, such breaches could lead to fines or arrests for trespassing.


Other posts in this series:

Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (V)
 
Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (IV)

Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (III)

Does Casino Self-Exclusion Work? (I)

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